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Directed By Barry Levinson

Starring: Bruce Willis, Billy Bob Thornton and Cate Blanchett.

Bandits will include itself in many of the films which came out in the nineties, which knew how to start and how to end, but had a lot of trouble in the middle. (I can think of The Thomas Crown Affair for one)

There are traces of Butch Cassidy, The Sting, and many other films about conmen and thieves. This film tried to be more. While Bruce Willis was the action type, we have Billy Bob Thornton, whose hypochondriac role fits perfectly on Woody Allen. But Thornton pulls it off well and everything is well on it path, till the girl comes along.

Not only inclusion of Cate Blanchett as the bored housewife seeking adventure turmoil the two bandits relationship, it also succeeded it making the movie too long. There was a lot that could have happen, but did not happen simply because the scriptwriters fell in love with Blanchett's character. Nothing wrong with Blanchett of course. She is fine, enjoyable but spends too much time not helping the Bandits the stuff they do the best...rob banks.

Nevertheless, the film was still enjoyable. There are genuine moments of humour, coupled with great performance from the trio. Good film, only the damn middle part. Not something I would remember in my old age.

Fourth Protocol, The (1987)

Directed by John Mackenzie

Starring: Michael Caine and Pierce Brosnan.

Forget Brosnan's performance in the Bond movies or the recent excellent Tailor of Panama. His cold, calculative KGB agent in The Fourth Protocol should have told us what a wonderful actor he is. Made in 1987, the film is closer to its older brother (The Days of Jackal, also by Frederick Forsyth) than the spy films starring Michael Caine, as I originally thought it would be. The pace is slow, but thoughtful. Like Jackal, we get to see Brosnan making preparation to bring in the bomb and piecing it together. We also get to see Caine, 'the rebel' of M16 tracking him down.

The same year, Dalton starred as Bond for the first time. Bond fans will remember that Brosnan was the original choice but unable to make it due to commitments in TV, which also never materialised. It must be out of anger that he played KGB here. It certainly shows. He is in his darkest and the most deadliest. Sadly, these qualities didn't show much in his performance as Bond. That's my grouse. I am sure most of you are perfectly happy with Brosnan's Bond


Anyway, this movie is good. Go for it. 



Directed by Michael Mann

Starring: Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, Val Kilmer, Tom Sizemore and John Voight

If there are two actors in Hollywood that can make the Tinseltown beaming as proud parents of some brilliant child, it has definitely got to be Robert De Niro and Al Pacino - at least for those who had been watching movies from the seventies, arguably the finest decade in movie business.

Both of them had appeared in one film, The Godfather part 2, though they never shared any of the scenes together. It was the film that launched both of these acting greats' careers (alongside some earlier efforts like the first Godfather for Pacino and Mean Streets for De Niro). Both rejuvenated the Method style of acting after the industry suffered a great draught of talent in the acting department ever since Brando and Newman burst into the scene in the fifties. Great many good actors did appear in the sixties, but none of them made as much impact as Pacino and de Niro.

Both of them made many good movies and save many bad movies with their performance alone, and then came the year 1995 when the whole world saw the appearance of these two in one film - Heat.

Heat takes the traditional cops and robbers story to a new height. While the script coughs occasionally, intentionally bending on furthering exploration on the third dimension of its characters, it is nevertheless exciting. It could have been a great action piece in the tradition of, well, any good cop and robbers movie, but dammit, this movie has, in addition to Pacino and De Niro, John Voight (midnight cowboy), Val Kilmer (Tombstone), and Tom Sizemore (Saving Private Ryan). On top of that we have Michael Mann as the director. This guy directed The Last of the Mohicans and helped to create TV series like LA Law and Miami vice. He later directed the excellent The Insiders (also starring Pacino and the legitimate successor to Pacino and de Niro, Russell Crowe). Enough name tossing.

The highlight of this show is the 15minutes scene involving both de Niro and Pacino. Pacino, the cop, invites de Niro the thief, for a cup of coffee. And THAT big scene says all about these twos supreme acting talent. Both are in awe of each other, respectful and at the same time very observant of each others thoughts. The dialogue sounds like an ordinary conversation, and it is not. It is so intense that even Pacino, who was ranting and raving throughout the show, gets quiet, now that he found a worthy adversary. The whole movie was worth seeing for this scene alone.

That doesnt mean that it is without some action. The initial robbery involving a security van, the shootout in the streets of LA and the final cat and mouse chase between the two leads are exhilarating, and heart-pounding. There are subplots involving Pacinos relationship with his ex-wife, and stepdaughter, while de Niro find himself stepping out of his discipline by getting intimate with a graphic designer. The scenes slow down the film, but add extra edge to the lead characters. Grab a video or DVD of this film. Have a good time.

Kellys Heroes (1970)

Directed by: Brian G. Hutton.

Starring: Clint Eastwood, Telly Savalas, Donald Sutherland, Don Rickles and Carrol O Connor.


When I saw the movie...again...recently, I realised something. The movie is funnier than it was the last time around. How did that happen? Maybe I grew older. Or maybe, I have learned to appreciate the talents of those other than Clint Eastwood.

To be honest, this is not your typical Eastwood fare. Sure, he does have his usual diet of dead bad guys, but the movie belonged entirely to the heroes of his namesake, Kelly. It belonged to Savalas, Sutherland, Rickles and OConnor.

This can be the film that ended many excellent war movies that came up to that time, for a simple reason. It is not exactly about war (WWII, in this case). Its about greed and it may or not be relevant to that period or situation. Make analysis of this film and its relation with the real war of the time it was made (Vietnam), and you are in for a disappointment. It aint no Platoon or Apocalypse Now. Its Ocean Eleven set in war field. It is more than that. It is about adventure. Its a caper.

Damn, it took me so long to find that word. So, this caper would not have been fun without the participation of the excellent cast. Sutherland, in particular, stands out as Oddball, and watch out for his dog barks. The score is out of place, cheesy, but remember this is not Saving Private Ryan. Generous on laugh and high on excitement. And, as I said before, we get plenty of bad guys with bullets in their guts, courtesy of Eastwood and company.


Made Men

Directed by: Lois Mareneau

Starring: James Belushi, Timothy Dalton

If you are the tight-reared highbrow type of audience. Feggettaboutit! If you just looking for fun, not bothering where your brain is at that time, its the right movie. You could call it an action movie, or just plain simple shoot-em-up. Whatever it is, you are in for some great fun.

A note about the actors. James Belushi has long stepped off his famous (or is he infamous) late brother's shadow and have proven to be a competent action star. He got his own gift for comedy, and in this film he makes full use of it. Timothy Dalton (one of my favourite Bond) plays a red-neck sheriff here. His southern accent is convincing here and there, but if you have your ears perked up like a dog, and with a knowledge that he is a Welsh actor, you might look for and find mistakes. Don't do it! Just relax and enjoy

Movie titles K-Z